Man, when it rains it pours, just ask one time darling of the left, Michael Avenatti. He was appearing at a hearing at the State Bar of California, where he was accused of scamming a client out of $840,000 in settlement money and appropriating it to his own use. The State Bar was looking to put Avenatti on involuntary inactive status, which is the first step towards disbarment. Now, normally that would be enough to ruin any lawyer’s day, but lo and behold, during a break in testimony the feds showed up to arrest Avenatti for violating the terms of his release agreement in a totally separate matter. Double ouch. Daily Beast:
Avenatti was taken into custody at around 6 p.m. PST. When the court resumed, his lead counsel in the disciplinary case, Thomas Warren, told the court that in connection with a criminal matter in Santa Ana, Avenatti was unable to return to court.
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, confirmed to The Daily Beat that Avenatti was arrested on allegations of violating the terms of his pre-trial release. Mrozek declined to go into details, as the documents in the case are under seal. “I do expect him to appear in federal court in Santa Ana tomorrow,” he said.
As Avenatti was being led out of the courthouse, the normally garrulous lawyer said simply, “Completely innocent.”
Sounds just like his old nemesis Donald Trump, doesn’t he? And that’s not all. In addition to disbarment proceedings and the criminal matter on the west coast, Avenatti has another high profile, criminal matter pending on the east, the Nike extortion case. Avenatti allegedly told Nike that he would keep quiet about their purported policy of paying high school basketball players to attend Nike-sponsored college basketball programs, if they paid him millions of dollars.
Avenatti flew very high in political circles for a time as the self-appointed voice of the left, on political TV shows, and even threw his hat in the ring as a presidential contender, as you recall. But he got too close to the sun, when it was found out that he lived like a James Bond villain and owed the IRS millions of dollars — plus unpaid rent money on his office. That revelation brought his populist-politician career screaming to the ground.
Again, that would be enough to wake most people up to the error of their ways, but not Avenatti. He got indicted by a California grand jury last April on 36 counts of fraud, tax evasion and embezzlement.
The man is larger than life. He’s cartoon-like, just as is Donald Trump. No wonder he knew how to troll Trump and push all his buttons. They’re two peas in a pod, running on hubris, ego,and greed. At least in Avenatti’s case, he had a brain and graduated valedictorian of George Washington School of Law. Too bad he didn’t have a character that matched his intellect. He could have been somebody legitimate and done a lot of good.
If this was a farce, instead of reality (not that there’s much discernible difference these days) Trump and Avenatti would end up on the same cell block. Or, maybe Avenatti will end up neighbors to Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort. It’s fascinating the types of con artists that have emerged from the shadows and into the limelight in the era of Trump.